Athletes and fans pay tribute to former world indoor 400m record-holder who has died aged 51
Todd Bennett has died aged 51 after a six-month battle with cancer.
The former world indoor 400m record-holder enjoyed great success as an athlete and most recently as coach and team manager for Southampton Athletics Club.
Among his many achievements were winning 400m gold at the European Junior Championships in 1981 before going on to claim a silver medal as a part of the 4x400m relay team alongside Kriss Akabusi, Garry Cook and Phil Brown at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles.
He became European indoor champion over the distance in 1985, where he broke the world record thanks to his 45.56 clocking, and went on to retain his indoor title two years later. He also claimed silver at the World Indoor Champs in 1985.
“We are very sad to announce that Todd Bennett has passed away at home after a six-month battle with cancer,” read a statement from Southampton AC.
“Todd was dedicated to the sport of athletics during his life as an athlete, coach and team manager and was an inspiration to a huge number of young athletes, and school children who he coached and supported.
“Todd had considerable success as an athlete, holding the world indoor 400m record and winning medals in the 400m and 4x400m relays at the Olympics, Commonwealth Games and European Championships and was part of a successful era in British athletics and 400m running in particular.
“Following his retirement as an athlete he encouraged many to take up and participate in the sport he loved. Vanessa, his wife, and children, Aaron and Daena, will miss him dearly.”
In 2008 he launched the Team Superschools Challenge, an initiative spearheaded by Bennett and Olympic gold medallist Darren Campbell designed to promote sport to school children.
Among those to pay tribute to the 400m great was fellow ex-400m runner Iwan Thomas who tweeted: “RIP Todd Bennett a truly great athlete, man husband and father….. X.”
Paula Radcliffe tweeted: ”Sad, sad news that Todd Bennett has lost his battle with cancer. RIP,” while Dina Asher-Smith, who on Tuesday was named as the youngest member of the GB team for the IAAF World Championships in Moscow later this summer, tweeted: “R.I.P Todd Bennett, thank you for all the support over the past four years. My thoughts are with his friends and family right now.”
A cremation is being held on Thursday July 25 at 11.45am in the East Chapel, Southampton Crematorium, for family and close friends only. This will be followed by a celebration of Todd’s life from 2pm at Romsey Abbey (SO51 8EP). Anyone wishing to pay their respects is invited to attend this service. Black attire is not necessary.
Family flowers only but any monetary donations are requested to be sent to funeral directors Wendy Powell at Henry Powell & Sons, Totton, SO40 9GB and these will be shared between Southampton AC (for the clubhouse/stand developments) and Cancer Research UK.